by Andrew Bolt
Malcolm Turnbull spent $2 billion of your money to become Prime Minister – a “captain’s pick” made when the Budget is deep in deficit:
NEW Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull secured Government by signing a secret deal with the Nationals worth at least $2 billion.
Mr Turnbull cut the deal with Nationals leader Warren Truss Tuesday morning before he went to Government House to be sworn in as the 29th Prime Minister of Australia, replacing the vanquished Tony Abbott.
The deal, which includes a promise to consider $600 million for stay-at-home mums and millions more to fix mobile phone black spots, was signed despite Mr Turnbull failing to take it to Cabinet or the Liberal party room…
The deal includes a promise that Cabinet will consider an extension of Family Tax Benefit B payments which would give around 140,000 families earning under $100,000 an extra $1000 a year for babies.
As well, Cabinet will look at extending youth allowance for regional tertiary students, a package to create rural jobs and a promise to continue the $150 million a year mobile black spot funding.
The Nationals were given control of water policy and an undertaking Cabinet would again consider an “effects test” under consumer laws.
Why did the Nationals demand this price in return for backing Turnbull? Because they just don’t trust Turnbull to listen to them once he’d got power.
This is why Abbott delayed resigning for long yesterday, which his usual Fairfax critics spitefully claimed was ”unnecessarily churlish”, as always presuming the worst of Abbott before troubling to establish the truth. In fact, without the Nationals on board, Turnbull did not have the numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives to be Prime Minister. Abbott could not hand over to him without that assurance.
Critical to the Nationals’ endorsement of Mr Turnbull as PM was a pledge written into the agreement that he would not change existing policy on climate change or same-sex marriage.
And just to protect other rural interests from Turnbull:
… the deal would shift the existing $2.5 billion water portfolio from the Liberals to the Nationals …
The Turnbull spin:
A senior Liberal MP said the deal “showed Malcolm is prepared to work with people”.
ARGUABLY, if it had been a Coalition vote rather than a party vote, Tony Abbott would still be prime minister today.
Malcolm Turnbull won 55-44 in the Liberal Party ballot. There are 21 National Party members who did not get to vote. Abbott would have needed 17 of them to win a combined party vote; he would probably have got the lot….
And that’s where what might be termed the continuing “Abbott majority” will apply.
This was given shape and form in the new Coalition agreement agreed between the National leaders Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull yesterday.
For essentially, the National duo locked now-prime minister Turnbull into broadly maintaining the Abbott government’s policies.